THE BEST OF MARVEL
We’ve had AvX, AvX Versus and all the standard ongoings with plot arcs relevant to the AvX storyline, and now, just when you thought it was over, we have AvX Consequences. On the surface, it appears nothing much can come of this storyline apart from a finger-wagging moral of “Just say ‘NO’ to ancient omnipotent celestial beings, kids!” but it actually has a lot of intriguing plot hooks: what Hope will do now her destiny’s been fulfilled, the Phoenix Five being put on trial for war crimes, the new mutants suddenly popping up, the future of X-Men/Avenger relations and humanity’s response to the renewed mutant threat. Since most crossover events seem to end with a snap back to the status quo with very little actually changing, it’s nice to get a miniseries that deals with the aftermath- even if they are going to wrap it all up in five issues.
Red She-Hulk #58 (writer: Jeff Parker; artists: Carlo Pagulayan & Wellington Alves)
Red She-Hulk is one of those characters that’s always been on the sidelines for me. She sort of lurks around the edges of the various Avengers titles, and appears as a team player in the completely-average Defenders, but I’ve never really thought much about her beyond “Oh look, Betty Ross got powers. Good on you, Betty!” This issue changed all that. I wasn’t even aware that she had her own solo ongoing, let alone one that’s been going this long, but in just one issue she’s become one of my favourite superheroes. The US military is trying to replicate a combination of the super-soldier serum and gamma radiation to make superheroes that can be guaranteed to follow government orders. Betty objects. The new wave of super soldiers are brought to their knees in humiliating fashion by this badass red chick. Hardcore.
I haven’t read Ultimate X-Men since the last volume, and I declared myself done with it once I reached the bit where Jean Grey’s telekinesis was all done by little goblins. Obviously, this volume is doing much better, otherwise it wouldn’t be in my top picks list this week. But what’s so great about it? Well for starters, Kitty Pryde is the 17-year-old leader of a mutant rebellion, and that’s basically all you need. But if that’s not enough, how about a rousing speech that makes you proud to be a mutant (even if, you know, you’re not)? Or epic displays of mutant abilities fighting against The Man? Or the Ultimate Universe debut of Armor? Or Quentin Quire making out with Rogue? OK, that last one was a little gross. But that’s just one panel- the rest of it is just made of pure win.
The first issue of the AvX Peace Treaty opens with a page of sheer nightmare fuel, that I fear my flu may turn into hallucinations to torment me with later. The whole thing is pretty much a long tribute to the late, great Professor X, with a short break in the middle to give Cyclops a wedgie and tell him how much he sucks. Cyclops is replaced in the hearts of the hero population by his brother Havok, who is so much better as a person and also more attractive. Rogue and Scarlet Witch have a cat fight. Thor, Captain American and Wolverine round out the team, because it’s not the Avengers without Cap, it’s not a Marvel comic without Wolverine, and Thor is sexy. The team of villains that shows up randomly to unite Rogue and Scarlet Witch are a bit of a D-list ass pull, but the opening villain and the big bad revealed on the final page set a high standard for the rest of the series.
DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON
Fantastic Four #611 (writer: Jonathan Hickman; artist: Ryan Stegman)
This is billed, in big letters on the front cover, as “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine’s FINAL ISSUE” There are several things wrong with this. Firstly, that is far too many possessive apostrophes for one sentence. Secondly, it’s not the world’s greatest comic magazine. Thirdly, it’s not even the final issue, really; the FF series is still going strong so it’s not like the Four are out of work or anything. Bearing that in mind, this issue is decent enough, but doesn’t pop the way a final issue should- not with a bang, but with a whimper, as the saying goes. You could get it for the future value I suppose, but comic values are basically negligible unless you’re talking Golden Age. So, really, don’t bother.
Say goodbye to the fourth wall- Deadpool’s still in The Avenging Spider-Man #13!
Loved AvX but thought it needed more rage-infected zombies? Marvel Universe vs. the Avengers #1 is for you!
Storm acts like Colossus’ creepily abusive wife in X-Men #37!